Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing

Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing


Tangy and garlicky, this versatile Greek cucumber-yogurt dish is easy to make

Looking for the perfect summer dish? Tzatziki is here!

It’s quick to prepare (no cooking!) and endlessly versatile. You can serve it as a dip, but it also makes a dandy sauce (it’s particularly nice with chicken or fish). Or use it as dressing for salad. You can even thin it out and serve it as soup.

We’ll drink to that. Make ours an ouzo.



Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing

Recipe: Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing

So, how do you pronounce tzatziki? In the US, it’s usually zat-zee-key. The Greek pronunciation is closer to chat-chee-kee.

You can find variants of this dish in any part of the world where yogurt is a staple. India has raita. Turkey has cacik. The Balkans have tarator. Iran has mast-o-khiar. And so on.

Ingredient quantities are flexible for this dish. So feel free to adjust ingredients to suit your own taste.

Assembly time for this dish is under 15 minutes, but you need to salt the cucumber and let it sit for a bit to release its liquid. So plan on at least 30 minutes from start to finish.

Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • 1 seedless (English) cucumber (see Notes for substitutions)
  • ~1 teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
  • 4 cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint or dill, chopped (or a mix of the two; or to taste)
  • ~2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice (to taste)
Procedure
  1. Peel the cucumber, then grate it (using the large-holed side of a grater or a food processor grater attachment). Toss the grated cuke with about one teaspoon of salt, then let it drain in a strainer or colander for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the garlic and mince it. Mix the minced garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then let it sit while the cucumber is draining.
  3. Rinse the drained, grated cucumber with water. Then place the cuke pieces in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze them to remove any excess water. Pour the cuke pieces into a mixing bowl (or, if you’re not ready to make the dip quite yet, just let them dry on paper towels). Add the yogurt and the chopped garlic (with its accompanying olive oil).
  4. Wash and mince the mint and/or dill, then add it to the mixing bowl. Add another tablespoon of olive oil, then mix all the ingredients together. Add about 2 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice and mix again. Taste, then add more vinegar or lemon juice if needed. Add salt if necessary.
  5. You can serve the tzatziki right away or let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing

Notes
  • Using tzatziki as a dip? You could serve it with cut-up veggies and bread (pita bread is particularly nice). Or potato chips. Or any kind of chip, really.
  • Whole-milk yogurt works best in this dish. You can use 2% or fat-free yogurt if you insist, but the flavor won’t be as good.
  • Some recipes call for letting the yogurt sit in a sieve for a couple of hours so that the excess moisture can drain from it. With Greek yogurt, we find that step isn’t necessary. But if you’re using regular yogurt (which often is on the watery side), sieving it is probably a good idea.
  • English cucumbers are the long, seedless variety that generally come wrapped in plastic protective seals. 
  • Don’t have English cucumbers on hand? You can substitute ordinary slicing cucumbers (the kind most commonly found in US supermarkets). If going this route, use two or three cukes (to taste). These cucumbers have a lot of seeds. So after peeling them, cut the cukes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon before grating them.
  • Don’t want to grate the cucumbers? You can dice them finely instead.
  • Why salt the grated cucumber in Step 1? Because salt helps draw out some of the moisture (which could make the tzatziki too watery if not removed).
  • Mint and dill both work great in this dish (which is why they’re the herbs that people most frequently use). We have an abundance of mint in our garden at the moment, so we went with that. But we often use both mint and dill.
  • Want to serve this dish as a soup? Just thin it with water. Or maybe cream (we haven’t tried that, but it sounds good).
  • We like to use red wine vinegar in this dish, but lemon has its charms, too. Or you could use white wine vinegar if you prefer.
  • Why marinate the minced garlic in olive oil? To infuse the oil with garlic flavor (and soften the flavor of the garlic itself – making it more mellow).
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If substituting regular table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend.
Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing

Double Dippers

“Outstanding dish,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “It’s the real dill.”

“Mint condition too,” I said. “Fresh from the not-hot kitchen.”

“Pita we don’t make this more often,” said Mrs K R.

“Let’s not mince words,” I said. “We l-o-v-e the garlic flavor.”

“Great party dish too,” said Mrs K R. “People will line up for it. They’ll be queue-cumbers, you might say.”

Yo-gurt, girl.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Green Goddess Dip, Dressing, and Sauce
Mediterranean White Bean Dip
Jalapeño Black Bean Dip
Salsa and Picante Sauce
California Clam Dip
Smoky Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip
Artichoke Dip with Cheddar Cheese
Crab Rangoon Dip
Or check out the index for more

72 comments:

  1. I love Tzatziki - it looks and sounds delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, we love it, too! Makes a great appetizer. Or dinner. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. OMG I have been pronuouncing it wrong all these years! This stuff is so addictive indeed. I have use dit on meats too but never as a soup. great idea, got to give that one a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Evelyne, I was pronouncing it wrong, too, until I looked it up. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful dish. We have a locally owned chain of restaurants by the same name and tzatziki is served with everything on the menu. Sometimes I make my own, but often I just buy a cup of it from them.
    Punny dialogue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anne, isn't this nice? You're lucky to have that restaurant chain local to you! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  4. You mentioned that it's widely used -- I especially like the version that's served on a falafel sandwich. Cool and hot at the same time (if the falafel is fresh out of the fryer). Sometimes also included on the falafel: a hot spicy condiment or hot peppers as well -- more contrast!

    Remember that the Ottoman Turks ruled Greece as well as the eastern end of the Mediterranean, long ago known as "the levant." So all those cuisines have a lot in common, but the Greeks like to forget it.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mae, food history is really interesting stuff, isn't it? Fascinating to see how the same basic recipe has spread throughout a large part of the world. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  5. John, my office fun committee (yes, we have one) is holding a dip contest soon. This could be a contender for me to consider bringing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Terry, dip contest! That does sound like fun. And back in the days when I worked in an office, I was on way too many committees. Never had the opportunity to be on a fun committee though -- that would have been . . . fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. I make basically the same dish and call it Raita. It is very cooling when served with hot and spicy food. I think I will try your thicker version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rocquie, raita is very, very similar. Good stuff no matter what you call it! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. wouldn't you know it, but my husband hates cucumbers. i don't think he's ever tasted one, but he certainly won't try tzatziki. but i get to make it when company is over! Thank goodness for foodie friends!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mimi, your company will thank you for this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  8. This is perfection in a bowl. Grate, salt, sit and squeeze the cucumber. Marinade the garlic in oil and add red wine vinegar if you prefer instead of lemon juice. Fantastic John! My son has a Greek friend who squeezes the grated cucumber through his fingers. It works too. I am going to enjoy your version, veru much. Thank you 🙂

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Merryn, I'll have to try the method of your son's friend! If nothing else, sounds like fun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  9. Methinks one could walk into most homes in Australia at any time to use a variant - have made it more-o-less the same way multiple times a week for decades ! So many brands at every supermarket but it truly takes less than ten minutes at home . . . I do not use 'dips' as a rule but have oft made this into a summer soup . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eha, although we like this as a dip, we probably use it more as a sauce. Wonderful on fish! And soup is really good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  10. Genius idea to turn this into a soup! It's such a versatile and refreshing dish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura, tastes good and really, really versatile. Winner! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  11. Tzatziki is a staple in our house. My husband uses it for almost everything on his dinner plate :-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angie, it's good stuff, isn't it? Sounds like your husband thinks so! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  12. One of my favorite dips. It’s so refreshing and tasty, you never feel guilty indulging.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vicki, we love this stuff! And it's pretty healthy -- winner! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  13. Love this dip and it's so easy to make!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kankana, easy definitely works for us. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  14. Replies
    1. Hi Natalia, so versatile, isn't it? One of our favorites. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  15. However you pronounce it, this is good stuff. Thanks for the reminder that I want to make this and soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lea Ann, you DO want to make this again. And soon. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  16. Love it, but I have to make it without garlic (allergic), maybe a bit of sautéed shallot would work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jean, I think shallots would work. I should try it that way, because I know people who can't tolerate garlic either.. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. This sauce is for sure a favorite for its tangy taste and cooling effect. Sooooo good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Judy, cooling is good at this time of time of the year. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  18. I will never know what real tzatziki tastes like, but I know I love a garlic-free version! Thanks, John - a great reminder for a cool summer dish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David, nope, the garlic version most definitely isn't for you! I need to try a garlic-free version one of these days, because we do know others who can't tolerate garlic. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  19. A must have on these, we refuse to cook because it is just too hot days of summer. A little dip and all our favorite veggies and its a wrap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bobbi, yup, this was dinner when we made this batch! :-) Thanks for he commentg.

      Delete
  20. Sounds like the perfect way to start off a fabulous Greek meal! It's been ages since I've made tzatziki--I think I have a plan for dinner next week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, this is such tasty stuff, isn't it? Always enjoy making -- and eating!! -- it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  21. I love tzatziki, it brings back memories . There was a Greek restaurant in Germany where I used to go with my girlfriend years ago .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gerlinde, we like it a lot. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  22. I need this now. Happy Friday.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi R, this will be good for Friday cocktail hour. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  23. I could eat this all summer and even all year. Dip it, spread it, scoop it. This stuff is addictive :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dahn, we could eat this all summer, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  24. Perfect timing. I leave tomorrow for a sailing adventure in the Adriatic. We won't quite make it as far South as Greece, but I promise (thanks to you) I'll have tzatziki on my mind. GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Greg, tsatziki should always be on your mind! Sounds like you're going to have a great trip -- enjoy. And thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  25. I love Tzatziki, but somehow never got around to make it...thanks for the recipe John, it is super easy, and I should not have any excuse to try making it...
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juliana, super easy is just our speed. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  26. Yummy! I love the refreshing taste of Tzatziki in the summer time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank, yummy is exactly the word! This is good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  27. I absolutely love Tzatziki and what a perfect hot weather snack! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I've never made it before, and it's never too late to start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MJ, make this once, you'll make it a bunch. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  28. We adore tzatziki but haven’t made it in ages! Great reminder to do so.
    PS, these were some of your best (worst) puns 🤣
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eva, those puns are awful, aren't they? :D Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  29. i make something very similar in summer but i turn it into a soup! just add iced water and there you go. delicious. the garlic is so fantastic in this. cheers sherry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sherry, we often add chilled water (or even ice cubes) and serve this as a soup. It's good that way! :-) Thanks for the cmment.

      Delete
  30. This stuff is addictive. You can smear it on almost anything. And I love the idea of even making it into soup for the summer. I bet that is so refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, really versatile stuff. Good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  31. Always a yes to tzatziki and yours looks really nice and thick. So delicious! Have a great week ahead :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Taruna, really thick tzatziki is the best -- love its texture. And flavor, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  32. My favorite dip ever! Agree on serving with cut-up veggies and bread (pita bread),or any kind of chips but never ever thought of it as a soup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Balvinder, this is such a versatile recipe! So many different ways to use tzatziki. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  33. I love Greek yogurt- I eat it by the bucket loads. Although I'm not a fan of cucumbers, when combining them with the other ingredients, I find that tzatziki is quite edible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fran, Greek yogurt is our favorite type of yogurt. Love its texture! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  34. This has always been one of my favorite dips/sauces. Your recipe looks delicious and I would especially love it with spicy foods. Lovely! ~Valentina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Valentina, isn't this good stuff? And you're right -- it's wonderful with anything spicy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  35. John, your tzatziki looks so creamy and delicious! We love eating it with kabobs and Middle Eastern/Desi rice dishes. It adds just the right amount of cooling and flavor. Great tip on salting the cucumbers first. That's the step I always miss!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly, salting the cucumbers really does help the texture of this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  36. LOVE tzatziki sauce, John! Yours looks wonderful. Now I'm craving this sauce and gyro! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marcelle, this stuff is addictive, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete